Sunday 20 August 2017

Seven things you're entitled to under the new renting rules

Here is everything you need to know about the changes

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Rebecca Lumley

New rented accommodation regulations are set to come into effect today, ending speculation that bedsits would re-enter the market as a solution to the housing "crisis".

The updated regulations will require some landlords to install additional safety features in rented properties, with a particular emphasis on fire safety and air quality.

Signed off by former Housing Minister Simon Coveney, the regulations are the first significant overhaul of minimum standard requirements since 2008. They will apply to both private and local authority housing.

Here is everything you need to know about the changes.

Bedsits, be gone

The 2008 regulations first attempted to remove bedsits from the rental market by stipulating that bathrooms must not be shared between flats. They also required that flats had independently controlled heating appliances, adequate food preparation and storage facilities and access to laundry facilities.

Despite speculation that bedsits could become available once again to alleviate Dublin's housing deficit, the new regulations serve to enforce the 2008 stance on bedsits and confirm that each apartment must have self-contained bathroom and kitchen facilities.

This comes just days after current Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy said he was considering bringing bedsits back into use "if we can get it right and get the standards right."

It is believed that there are approximately 5,000 bedsits currently restricted from the market.

Fire Safety

Significant changes have been made to fire safety and heating requirements. Every home must now be equipped with a fire blanket and "suitable self-contained fire detection and alarm system."

Self contained houses in multi-unit buildings must also be equipped with individual, mains-wired fire alarms and fire escape plans. They must also be provided in common areas of the multi-unit building. Multi-unit buildings refer to houses or apartments that have been split into flats.

The regulations also stipulate that emergency lighting be provided in common areas of multi-unit buildings.

All safety requirements listed must be subject to regular maintenance.

Air Quality

Each home is now required to have a carbon monoxide alarm under the new regulations. Every room must also have proper ventilation, with adequate ventilation systems installed in kitchens and bathrooms to remove water vapour.

All ventilation must be maintained and found to be in good working order.

Kitchens

Tenants are entitled to a host of basic facilities in the kitchen area, which must be part of the "habitable area" in all homes.

Landlords must provide; a ring hob with oven and grill, a microwave, a cooker hood or extractor fan, a fridge and freezer, a sink with potable water and enough presses for adequate food storage. They are also required to provide a working washing machine or access to communal washing facilities.

Similarly, if a home does not have access to a private garden or yard, the landlord must provide a dryer or access to dryer facilities.

Bathrooms

Tenants are entitled to a supply of both cold and hot water in a fixed bath or shower. In the same living space, they are also entitled to a a "water closet" type bathroom, with access to a toilet and sink.

Vermin

Responsibility for dealing with vermin has also been moved from tenant to landlord, meaning landlords must now handle extermination of mice or rats if present in a home. The house must also have access to suitable and adequate pest and vermin proof refuse storage facilities.

Windows

In relation to safety, windows more than 1.4m above the ground must have features installed which limit the size of opening. This is to prevent people falling from large windows.

The regulations in full can be found here

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